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NYC Teen Author FestivalYesterday afternoon I took some time and went up to the 67th Street branch of the New York Public Library to attend a reading by five YA authors who took part in this week’s NYC Teen Author Festival.

Martin Wilson, author of What They Always Tell Us, was the draw for me since I loved his book and wanted to meet a fellow Central High alum. The other authors were Lisa Ann Sandell, reading from her soon-to-be-released A Map Of The Known World, Courtney Sheinmel, reading from My So-Called Family, Rachel Vail, reading from the upcoming Gorgeous (which I’d like to read based on hearing Vail… it’s a story about a teen girl making a deal with the devil so she can be gorgeous… it was witty and funny … I think I’d like it) and Gossip Girl author Cecily Von Ziegesar who read from Gossip Girl #2: You Know You Love Me.

Why did she read from Gossip Girl #2 you may ask? She watched the show on Monday and was appalled at the depiction of the college admission process and she wanted us to hear it the way that she wrote it in the book. As we found out from the Q&A, she’s not consulted on the series at all. She went on to say that she enjoys the show but does wonder sometimes why they have the characters do some of the things they do.

The audience, while small, was pretty evenly split between adults and teens. The Q & A was good too. The best questions were around how the authors stayed in touch with teens to be able to write realistic YA and how they went about getting their books published. Every one of them had a different story for their publication experience, and most of them said that they went about it “wrong.”

I enjoyed meeting Martin (and he autographed my book, yay!). We, of course, talked about Central and Tuscaloosa. He was five years behind me, graduating in ’91 while I graduated in ’86 (Martin also had a friend there who was CHS class of ’88). It was fun to hear him give voice to Alex and Henry during his reading too… it made me want to go back and read the book all over again because I enjoyed those characters so much.

I’m hoping I get to do something like this event some day… from the other side of the podium.